tv Overheard With Evan Smith PBS September 28, 2011 5:00am-5:30am PDT
and also by mfi foundation, improving thh quality of life within our community. and also by he alice clayburg reynolds foundation and viewers like you. thank you. >> i'm evan smith. sse's an award winning actress acclaimed for her work on stage, on film and television, whose one woman play about the life of former texas governor ann -ichard wills soon are coming to a theater near you're if you're lucky. she's holland taylor. this is overheard. ♪
>> holland, welcome. >> my pleasure. >> the.nice to have you back in texas. >> it's wonderful to be back and to see you because you are one of the very first people i interviewed aaout ann richards four years ago. >> well, i should have asked you this question then, so i'm going to ask it now, and it's the obvious question i think. why ann richards, if you're gong to spend this time- of course so many people in texas know her and have incredibly rich memories of her- but you came to the table as a relative newcomer to ann. >> not only a relatively newcomer to ann, but a relative newcomer to texas. ú&m a yankee through and through, so t does seemú odd. >> yeah. >> .and i can tell you what, something i often have to tell people because the presumptionnmight because -- the presumption might be that an actress of a certain age is casting about for things to do. >> right. >> .and, ann says well, i'll do a one person show, which seems to be a course people take. >> .and who shall i pick, and the fact is it was not first of all i'm sort of past the, the, you know, expiration date for when one person shows seem like a good, ha-ha, you know, it's like o-kay.
and i, i, if i were going to pick somebody, which is, was not what i was thinking anyway, i don't think i would have picked someone that would have required me to wear a body suit, a wig, and have a set the size of texas. >> right. >> you know most, most one--eeson shoos have a rug and a chair.ú >> strippee down. >> yeah. right. >> and this is noo what that is. no, i, i was captivated by ann richards in, in tte light, the most lighthearted way as most, most americans were, and she was a real presence in new york. >> right. >> so i got to know more about her then. >> right. >> .in her teeas years, and i met her once. - had lunch with her and liz smith. i was quite intimidated and yet seated next to her i, i completely relaxxd and told her some of my juiciest stories, which she then repeated, 'cause they came back to me. [ laughter ] and you know, and, and i just, i just thought well, she'll always be a star in my heaven. >> yeah. obviously meant more to me than i knew. >> mmm-hmm. >> because when she died, i
was, ooh, thunderstruck and bereft as everyone was, but it lingered, nd it persisted to the point where i thought this is really odd how i. >> as if it were someone you had known. >> es. >> .really well. >> .and yet i didn't know her. >> yeah, right. >> o what is this? and if i had been a painter, if i were a paanter, i would have probably thought i think i'll paint her because that would be my way of expressing my feelings and my -- and exploring myú interest. so as an actor i guess i thought well, i could play her, and then i thought well, maybe there would be a movie of the week and i knew a little bit about her life ú&d since maybe from the time sort of she got sober to, that would be a good period of time, and i sort of thought that way, and i never did anything about it. and then one day i'm driving to work to two and a half men, and i'm, iim berating myself. i'm saying why. because i still had the thouggts about >> it's sticking. >> and i thought, why haven't you done something. >> yeah. one of your teeevision avenues? and it literally hit me like, i had to pull over because i, i thought,
oh, it's ecause it's a play. she's live. it's on stage. aah, it was really like -hat. >> mmm-hmm.ú >> i pulled over. i was parked in the sort of a service road next to this kind of approach to the highway in gravel there, sitting and starring off of, an, or, an, or. you think i'm cartooning? and i sat there.as like. i don't think i shut my eyes. and tte ideas, not only to do it, but how to do ú&. the exact setting. >> yep.3 >> what, what would be the occasion of her speaking..3 >> yeah. >> and then also the idea for this centerpiece that takes place in the gooernor's office where she takes and makes about twenty phoneecalls.3 >> yeah. >> which is like a jewel, and -- but it's like a, an -solated thing n the play because her.she was governor for four years. herrlife was a big life. so it all came to me in that 15 minutes. and i sort of came out of thissdream, and i went off to work, and i never turned back. so i was compelled to do
this. >> had this happened to you befooe in your career where you'd had this vision come to you. >> .this is what i must do next? >> no. >> yeah. >> and i've never wrote anything. >> yeah. >> .and i ain't writing anything again. >> and so you've written this. [ laughter ] you not only perform this play but you wrote it, and as you say, never written annthing before, and. >> no. >> never. >> no. no >> .will write anything again. >> i, i was able to write this. i mean i think i always enjoyed having a good ear. >> yeah. >> .for how people talk. >> yeah. >> .and i, i enjoyed writing. i enjoyed penning things. i've always tried to write good letters when i write so it means something to me, but in terms of writing a play -- and this is is a theater piece, and ii's very theatrical. >> yeah. >> .and it is good writtng i believe, but you know a usual play has many characters and plot, and this has one voice. >> ne character. right. >> so i learned hat voice very well, and i learred a view of hhr life, and i went in search of why i loved her, why i found her so captivating and others as well. ú&d of course, when you explore anyone who is
complex you find only more complexity. >> right. >> so that journey has been fascinating to me and very enlivening. and i, you now she wants. >> well, did you answer theúque? i mean did, did you come up with the, in your own mind the reason why she captivated you in the way other people havennt? >> yeah. here it is. >> yeah. >> she's captivating. [laugh] >> it's as simmle as that. >> yeah. >> she captivated you because she was captivating. >> yeah, i, i loved her 'cause, i loved her 'cause, i loved her 'cause she's really lovable. >> yeah. she, and she, she turned out to be who you thought she was? >> yeah. oh, absolutely. >> yeah. >> absolutely.3 but, but with shadows and colors thaa i hadn't expected. but of course the play is, you know, it's two houus. it's a very strict mistress. you, you can't have a, you, you have, if you have a have something else that has the same flavor. youuhave to drive ahead. you have to, you know. >> yeah. >> .keep it tight. >> so it was quite a task putting it all together. but she herself said that no one could write about her without writing about or
exploring the women who ade her what she was, and that was like many, many women who were around her in ever-smaller circles, and you get down to about four or five women who were the closest women to her, some &-reward.ave gone to their >> yeah. but, but, but thh women,,but the women who are around her. >> some of them are here. >> .are key to your understanding of her. >> and they, and theyy3 >> .and were kky to your >> yes. mary beth rogers who was an old friend and chief of staff. claire korioth who's here today.3 >> yeah. >> .who is one of her oldest friends. eaah raised four children alongside each other, their, each ffmily, and claire was also in her administration as head of the insurance board. and so mary beth was her chief of staff, and jane hickey who served several different functions in her administrations. i think of her as ann's consiglieri of like a. oh well. anyway. >> [laugh] i like where this is going. >> yeah. and then cathy bonner. >> yeah. >> .who was an old friend and kind of a abulous idea person. >> yeah. >> .who jane hickey
described to cathy as hundred ideas a minute, and -hat she was like a tennis ball machine, and these, these ideas would come popping out at you. >> naturally, yeah. >> ...and that she was impervious to insult ecause ann would say, cathy that is the stupidest idea i've ever heard in my life. and coath could go, oh, okky, well, then we can do this. you know. she was juut do, you could. >> she pivoted effortllssly that way wouldn't she. -eah. >> you, you couldn't, you couldn't knock her off &->> right. >> and who am iileaving out? cathy. no. cathy and claire. >> yeah. >> .and mary bbth. >> and jane. >> .oh, and jane. >> and jane. >> there they are. >> right. >> those are the four thaa i haae gotten to know. >> right. >> . several of them were. >> and so instrumentallyyyou &-was.tanding of who ann >> profoundly. yeah. >> and i once asked mary beth, i said, mary beth - 'cause we talked on the phone mostly - how manyú hours do you think we've talked? and she answeeed rather too quickly - thousands. thousands. [laugh] oh, oh,3 okay. and, and what was interesting was is that i normally i think i'm pplite. >> yeah. >> .and, and somewhat thoughtful. in this i wasn't at all. thoughtful. in this i wasn't
at all. i would, i would call them any time i needed. i said i need to talk to you about such and such. >> direct question. right. >> and i would ssy when can you give me time. and they'd go we-e-e-ll. and i'd say how 'bout sunday, and they would all, just kept giving. >> right. >> givvng, giving, giving. their time. what is more valuable than timm? >> but they also felt as close to her and as captivated by her as youú did. >> well, thhy wanted. yes, but, they wanted to sharr. >> right. >> .which is the unusual thing. >> the, the preparation for this, which e're getting into a little it, really, was extensive over these years, and it not only involved interviewing people whh were around her and knew her, but it involved a ú&alect coach. >> oh. >> it involved. >> yes and. >> .hours and hours and hours. >> .the archives. >> .of research into the archives. >> .and, and watching film, and watching film. >> right. watching interview, watching her on tape. >> yeah, andd and the people who knew her would point me where to go in the archive. >> right. >> .what kinds of thingssi should look at. >> hoo, how do you narrow that, i mean is it ttat is people saying to you don't look at everything, look at this? >> i'm looking for her persona. >> mmm-hmm. >> so that's what i'm after. >> and let's be clear about this. this is not a political piece. [simultaneous] this is not her as a person. >> [simultaneous] this not remotely political, nor is it really biographicall >> right. >> she does talk about her life, but it's not,,it's not political at all. it touches on her life in olitics from
the point of view of who she wws. >> right. >> .what she wanted. >> right. >> .what she wanted tt achieve, what mattered to her. >> right. >> .as a political being; therefore you hear about politics, but it's, it doesn't have, it's not >> the word bush is not mentioned. >> no. >> .for instance. >> the new governor is mentioned. >> right. >> .but not,,but not with any juddment. >> right. this, so this.. >> .just the new governor. >> .this is not a, a basically two hours of one-liners about the republicans. >> it's not. >> not at all. >> it's not one-liners at all, but there are a lot's of laughs. >> how could there not be laughs. ú& how could here not be laughs. >> right. >> it's funny because i wrote stuff. people say, god, you're, you're comic writing is just great. buu i said, but look who i'm writing about. >> yeah. >> i mean if you get to know her really well, you sort of, you could get onto the wavelength of how she would respond to stuff. >> and, and when you wrote it, how much of it is her words and how much is your interpretation or. >> well, i, when i originally got this idea, i justt ssumed i would use all her words. >> right. >> speak to. but, but very early on i realized that3 first of all that's not a play, anddthe ooly time it was sort of a play was when hal holbrook did mark twain.
mark twain was a lecttrer. ú& right. >> .and aavery amusing one, so the occasion for him speaking to the audience is he's giving a lecture. ann's not a lecturer, so, it, i had to actually writeúú&ad find two or three sentences that i could sliver in that suited the purpose that iú needdd very wwll, so i would always those are the sections that make me feel very nice because i know that is exactly how she said it. >> right. >> but i, i earned to get her, get her better..3 >> well, you got, ou got, no, knew, knew how to get the way that she would talk, but i'm also, you did it a little while ago, kind of almost absentmindedly. >> yeah. >> her, her voice. >> yes. >> you sound remarkedly like her. >> well. >> to people ho listened tt her for many years, you sound like her. >> i think in the play, i, i, i am not a genius that thaa sort of, at dialect. >> yes. and i did have a dialect coach. >> and she's been incredibly helpful to me, and, and actually once, once we have -inished this, this spring engagement i will work more on the dialect because, you know, i've been wearing a lot of hats - producer and writer and actor, and. >> yeah. >> . aad i haven't spent theú& kind of time on that i want, but there woold be certain things ttat she would say
that i would be struck by something unusual about it, and so i would sort of catch it in y ear like she did a thing on klru where she was talking about, i think campaigning, and she said, i feed off of people. people give me energy. i just suck everything out of an audience and oot f my friends. i literally absorb them into my being, and the lack of the physical contact leaves me feeling depleted and sort of wrung out, but when i'm with people i feel ennrgized and excited, ready to take on anything. and what i lovee about thatt3 was hat she [applause] thank you. >> see ttey. >> thank you. >> .they, they hear what i hear which is her. >> right? >> well, when i'm wearing the wig you're going to just freak. [laugh]3 serious wig. >> well, think there were two wigs, riiht? >> there are two wigs,, well, because. >> and they're expensive. >> they are. >> sixty. >> sixty-five hundred dollars. >> sixty-five hundred dollars apiece. >> a piece, yeah. >> and the reason why i have
two is it's so critical thha if something happened to ooe what would i do? >> right. >> so. >> you need a spare. so i have aadouble of thee3 costume too, because i wear3 one costume and it's white. duh. see? i mean all the decisions i doing it in texas was not a practical ddcision. >> why? maureen patton who runs the grann. 'cause i wouudn't, wasn't going tt start in texas. i was scared to. >> yeah. >> now i'm scared to leave. [laugh] >> right. >> so it was alveston to >> yes. >> .was the first time it >> almost exactly a year ago. >> .saw a performance, and then san antonio. >> san antonio we remounted it, and cut, cut some of it and brisked it up. >> mmm-hmm. >> and it's in really, really ggod shape. >> right. >> just a few more trims. >> right. by the time people see it in austin, in this area. >> that's, that's the final. &-happened again.l have >> yes. yes.ú >> and then austin. >> austin is the final. >> and then chicago in the fall. >> chicago in november at a . >> the old shubert theatre. >> .at the old shubert which america theatre. ú&augh] >> welll this is, this is
what happens these days, right? >> is that a great name for a theatre? >> [laugh] >> drrmatic, isn't. >> yeah, but, but then the bbg thing is as you've told me before, you're going to go to the kennedy center. >> that's correct. >> for a month. >> a month at the kennedy center. it'll be great to play it in washington. >> sure, yeah. the president will come. >> well, of course. >> she spoke for him early, and, and, she spoke, she went to chicago to speak for him in '04. >> don't, don't you. >> 'cause i have the paperwork. >> well, you, you have the evidence of this. >> mmm-hmm. >> donnt, don't, don't you think if, if she were alive todayyhow mmch fun she would have with the state of thinggs not nncessarily that she'd be happy at all about the state of things. >> no. >> but she would just, you, you, you know her so well now,,having spent all this time. >> she would, she would be, it would be, she would be refreshing because i, i am not like ann at all, and i get ss depressed and frantic and upset about what's happening, and for me it's like the brown shirts are marching up the street. i mean it's just like so scary what's happening in the country.ú she wouldn't be scared. she would be proactive thinking about how to fight it, and well, it'll, yoo know, we'll have a leader who comes. she said that.
i heard her say that on the &-moaning about how there'' no leadership. she said, we'll have somebody. sure, some while, somebody's gonna come. belief in rolling on. ú&>yep. >> rolling on, and how can we fight this. but she would have things torahd michele bachmann that i just, you know, i'm not a good enough writer to come up with what she woull. [laugh] >> no. but, but yeah, that's occasion like that when i long for her presence. >> yeah. >> but you know i long for what, you know, getting older is like, what anything in life. i mean the things that matter to her and he things that she would have value to. >> what would she have well, i'm told by others that she would love it. >> got, gott got a kick out of it. >> that she would get a kick out of it. in fact, ennifer treat, who wass-- sort of headed her fundraising, had a dream that she just wrote me about. antonio, and shh also gave me a lot of wonderful images which, which are in the 'cause people would say things that would go bing, and i would know, and shee3
wrote me recently that she had a dream that she was with a group of people in a, in a otel suiie or ú&mething, and that the play had made the cover of newsweek magazine, and that, and jennifer said, you want me to go out and get a copy? and [laugh] ann said, yeah. says she can't, she. then, ú&en in her dream she had some fantastic effort to get, get to a neesstand tooget it. >> right. >> some nightmare effort to3 -et it. so she finally got this newsweek and brought it back to nn, and ann looked at this picture,,wwich i guees is from the play with the great governor's office set,3 and she turned her back on jennifer and was looking at it very intently, and then she turned back to jennifer in her dream. >> yeah. >> and there were tears in her eyes. >> how. >> and then she says, jennifer, why didn't you get more? [laugh] could you go out and get some. >> go back out. >> go back and get some more copies. and i thought, man, does she
know ann. >> preety great. >> isn't that great? >> it's pretty nice. >> isn't that a great story? >> we've got little less than ten minutes.ú i would lose my card as a journalist if i didn't ask you about charlie sheen. -> oh, well, i can't talk much about him. >> oh, i understand. >> yeah. >> but i would, i would like to obssrve though that of aal the people who commented about the plight of this poor man. >> yeah. >> .you were thh kindest to him publicly. cordial, that he was nice toas everybody on the set. >> yeah, he, he, he is behaving in a way that may be in some ways the real charlie sheen n thht he's not edited at all. >> mmm-hmm. >> and some people in life, lenny bruce wasn't edited. maybe charlie wants to have a more unedited life in his future as, as someone who's a public entertaiier, speaker. &-right to do.hat is his he's obviously gone through lots of troublesome things in his time, and, you know, i have much too muchú sympathy for annbody going through a struggle like that to have someeattitude of oh
&-god!a watch this or my you know. >> or, or, or to den, or to jump on..-ú >> or to jump or to make a big judgment about it. >> .difficult moment. right, yeah. -> i mean, and, and if his health is in danger, i mean, you knoo my heart's in my throat... >> yeah. >> .wondering hat's going to happen. &-very concerned abbut him during ttis tour. >> right. >> and he really obviously met some big challennes in detroit. and got a comeuppances to how he had presented himself there, but i hear he's pulling it around in some way, and he's just doing, you know, he's doing a talk format, nd he's, which you don't ttink of as a show in the theatre. >> yeah. >> .but, i mean look nora ephron reads her, read her book at the paramount and funniest book ever written. >> indeed. >> and so whh can't charlie sheen talk in, in a theatre about his life f he antsú to? >> and you had a good experience. the point here really is. that you in the years that you did the programú together. >> he was. >> . you had very good experience with him. >> he was a man with real. he was very gentlemanly. >> yeah. >> .and very cordial and
saw him pull rank, have attitude, be dismissive, bee3 rude, be angry, be unpllasant. never once in eighttyears. doesn't that count for something? and in any cass, i, i'm not here to judge anybody. >> that's right. well, let, let me ask you about your caaeer in the remainnng time we have more broadly. >> yeah..3 this is, this is now a career of ore than forty years, right? >> well, yes, signiiicantly more.. >> it is. >> . than forty years.ú [laugg] >> well, but i'm, i'm gonna. >> more like forty-eight years. baby. >> well, i'm, i'm submitted this technically more than forty, righh? >> yeah. >> i'm, i'm, i'm, i'm >> yeah. [laugh] >> could. you, you, you have a, a very. >> you couldn't have said thirty in that case? [laugh] >> i clear, well, technically it's also more than ten actuallyy i should year.said more than ten >> [laugh] >> why did you want to do this? and how did you end up here? >> you mean acting? >> absolutely. >> again i on't think i had much choice about it. >> it came to you. &->> it found ou. >> yeah, it just, i really as a yoong teen, well, 122 i guess. i knew bb
then because i started being in school plays, and i wasú the, i was the ooe who was going to be an actress. you know everything in my3 school yearbook talked about that. >> right. >> it just was what i was going to do, aad by some, you know, miracle my parents didn't dissuade me. >> yeah. >> don't know why they didn't. >> yeah. >> 'cause they, i mean, they -- conventional background. mm father was a lawyer. >> yeeh. >> i, i don't know hy theyy3 figured. >> they, they didn't react negatively. >> no. >> n fact the opposite. >> no.ere supportive. they didn't say well, you gotta get a day job. no. >> right. >> no, no they didn't and, and i was vvry lucky. >> mmm-hmm. >> i was very lucky early in. i've never not worked. >> what, what was, what waa so lucky about yoor. >> i got jobs right away. >> it was just simply that you worked. and you seem to have worred actualll. >> yeah. >> .over the long career. >> yeah, and i've done, done a. >> consistently you've worked. >> you know, i've done a lot of crap too. because people say to me what, what. >> you say that with such.cheerfuuness. [laugg] >> i [laugh] well, i, 'cause i mean i had to make a living. >> right. >> you know people, i've, i've said this in some interviews, that, that, you know people always assume by my mannerror something hat i have money. i've never had any money
except what i made as, as an actress. >> so you just keep working. >> and, and so i had to keep working. >> right. career's been soo3 interrsting, what's made you ccoose this oot of the other job? and i said i've taken every job i've ever been offeredd >> right. >> well, that'' not rrally true, ut. >> right. ú& .i've taken many, many, many jobs hat were.. >> yeah.3 >> questionable.. >> wwll, they may seem questionable. >> .just to make a living >> .in retrospect. >> yeah. >> but at the time they ade some. &-wonderful jobs as well. >> yeah, but what, what, what was the best? i mean let'sj leave the ann >> oh, absolutely.of this. >> what, what, what over those years - film, televiiion, you pick - what. probably the best. >> .in particularly you proud of? >> .amongst the best things i did on broadway were a, a bbtley with alan batee which i've done a number of peee gurney, a.r. gurney's plays. >> yes. >> and actually i like to think i discovvred pete because i was in his very firsttplay, and i took his writing to a man i knew socially who was a literary agent, and i said this is an original voice, read this play. >> mmm-hmm. >> 'm telling you, this is an original american voice. and he went [yawn] i'll take a look at it, you know. >> [laugh]ú >> and from the picture heú
signed him instantly. >> oh, is that right? >> yeah, because his. and so i did that was theatre, and that was very importtnt to mm. and in television i think the practice was really distinguished writing and, and a distinguished rather adventurous role for a woman. >> yeah. >> .for my ageebecause she was very sexually active and very, very smart. not a usual combination. [[augh] >> right. doesn't happen in hollywood all that often. ú&get it, yeah. >> and so i seem to excel in that role, so. [laugh] >> we'll let that hang out there for a little while..3 >> you let it hang out. [laugh] >> you've also decided o do television which recently &-film.ion's become the new >> yes. >> oo the new thhatre. -> yes. >> but the reality is for a while there television was kind of this, the, the third of three if you had to pick. >> yeah, that, that's when i was in it a lot. >> right. >> now i'm, i'm, now as it's becoming the plaae o be with hbo and showtime, and all these, and amc, and all these fabulous cable shows. >> yeah. >> .i'm leaving. >> well. >> because i'm coming back to new york.
>> but you can come back. show. >> so, so is the, tte, the play is all that's on your radar screen going forward right now? >> well, it will, it's, i, well, i will probably visit two and a half men f it continues, aad i know they want it to continue. >> yeah. >> .because i will be sort of free this summer and -arly fall so -- but i will visit television from time to time, but in thh main the thrust is the play beccuse the, the, thhre's the pre-broadway stuff in the late fall and winter, and then there's robably four, four months or something in new york, and then there's some sort of break in which maybe i could do something else, and then we would tour it. we would for sure do. >> thh thought is you would do a touuing performance. >> what we would do, me tour. >> wow. >> i wouud tour. >> very, veryyexciting. >> beccuse i would like to play some great american >> yyah. ú& of course it will be thrilling to play ccicago.ú &->> washhngton. -ut we'd. >> right. .first f all, we have to come back to the big d. >> yeah. >> which we missed. >> didn't do dallas yet >> we have to come back o texaa. >> yeah. >> for sure. >> yeah. >> we have to come back to austin. >> would ou consider having it filmed assa doc.as, as a way now thattyou mention hbo, ome of those. >> ah, you know. >> .channels often will film. >> .when i see those things. >> .productions. >> .i don't like them.
&->> i, i mean i don't know. they would have to have an angle. maybe it would be a half back stage into the history of the making of it or >> yeah.g. >> sort of like the elline stritch one which was not just filming the show. >> right. >> it waa sort of, i could see. >> process as weellas. >> process would make it more interesting. >> yeah. >> because when i watch, when i watch these live performances, particularly when i've seen the actual performance, when, when something about taping it that loses this, which is the air between. >> yep. >> .us. 'cause this is where something is travelling. >> right. >> and somehow it loses that. >> yeah, it makes it seem like a movie. >> and. >> and we know that theatre. -> yeah. >> .is nottthe same as film. ú& yeah, and if, and if somebody. >> it's very. >> and if somebody wanted to do a movie about ann richards i prrbably wouldn't ú&nt to play it because i, i don'' think i would do it well in a movie. >> yeah. >> i'm doing this play. this is my projectt >> well, it's obviously something that you care >> yeah, i do. so much. >> i can't, i can't say i'm surprised, but it's so nice to hear you talk about it and see you live inside this. it's great. >> well, i'm very, i'm very excited about it. >> good. >> i'm very, very excited about it. ell, all, all the best to you, holland. >> aw. >> and i hope it's a big hit, and i hhpe it's something you nnw have no
choice but to do for many, many years. >> you know, you are exactly this welcoming when i met you four years ago before you knew anything, you just had a feeling that you supported it. >> well, shucks. [laugh] >> no, but, ou supported it. >> well, how could, i, i think all of us who knew3 governor richards were lucky enough to know governor richards even a little bit. how, how could we ot support it? >> well, as she said to you, it's always nice to be here and see you, evan..3 >> well, thank you very much. [laugh] holland taylor.3 thank you, dear. congratulations. [applause] >> thank you.
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- welcome to inner compass. i'm karen saupe. here in the united states our attitudes toward nature have shifted over time almost as much as nature itself. our guest today helped develop the intriguing field of environmental history to track the intense relationship we've had with nature and he'll tell us about the patterns he has noticed. today on inner compass. . - from the campus of calvin college this is inner compass, exploring how people use faith and ethics to guide them through critical issues of today . - my guest today is donald worster, environmental historian at the university of kansas and award-winning author of several books on how america's history has been shaped by its natural resources. - welcome, donald. - good morning.
- edward o. wilson said that humans are hard-wired to love nature. do you agree or disagree - i don't know whether there's enough evidence yet to argue that. but it is certainly a powerful theme in world history that people feel a passion for the natural world. they feel a part of it and they always seem . to want to need some kind of nature in their lives. whether it's universal as scientific fact or not, as wilson claims, is still up in the air. - yes. i want to believe that that's true and it's certainly true for me, but i've met people who would rather die than go camping, so i'm not sure. - [laughter] - there's also maybe a myth, maybe a truth that i grew up with that native americans, before europeans began to settle had a real respect and reverence for nature. is that the case? certainly, it's the case. but they're not the only people in the world who have had a respect and reverence for nature and native americans did things in the natural environment that